I was born during the Vietnam War and I had the opportunity to know lots of men who served there. I was able to know men and women who served in other wars, too.

Donat "Dan" Le Blanc followed his dream to become a United States Marine. He went to Vietnam and the Communists almost killed him. The Communists failed, and a stronger American was born. You should read his powerful book, Deckhouse: My Story.

Dan lost his arm in combat, but he never lost his love for our nation. He spent an hour with me on my radio show discussing his experiences. I was in the Army for a Memorial Day and a Fourth of July and the experience was tremendous. Having a conversation with a combat veteran on Veterans Day was more powerful for me than the glorious music and fireworks on a military base.

Because of my age, I was impacted by lots of people who had served in our military. My father was a soldier in Germany in the 1950s. He was there during the relative peace of the Cold War, but he was deeply impacted by the horrors of the Nazi government and he instilled in me the truths about totalitarianism.

Gerry Burke, my friend's father, was an infantryman in Vietnam; he was nearly killed and then went on to become an educator. He gave me solid advice before I left for Army basic training in Alabama.

Terry Brooks was a Marine in Vietnam and my fourth-grade teacher. He told us the truth about life in countries that were under siege by Communists.

We all have a better life because of the brave men and women who have gone to war for our nation.

Chris McCarthy is the host of The Chris McCarthy Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from 10 a.m. to noon. Contact him at chris.mccarthy@townsquaremedia.com and follow him on Twitter @Chris_topher_Mc. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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